I spend more time fantasizing about my life after publication than I do actually writing. I dream of movie deals, money galore (ha), and fans who make candles that smell like my characters. Book signings are, of course, an integral part of the author-reader relationship. As an introvert with social anxiety, I’ve spent a lot of time pondering how any future events I have will take place.
Book Signing Expectation:
The author strides into the bookstore, black skirts billowing. Golden curls peek from beneath a wide brim hat that obscures her pale, heart-shaped face. Her cheeks are sharp, her lips full, makeup impeccable.
The audience stands as one. They clap. They cheer. They are here for her alone. They have traveled miles to get here and endured hardships at rest-stops strung along the way. Someone tells a tale of clogged plumbing and fly traps. But it was worth it to see this woman.
She takes a seat behind a table and crosses her long legs, pointed heels slicing through the air like a sword. The crowd settles. Moments of eager silence pass until she raises a slender, gloved hand.
They bombard her with questions: What are your writing techniques? How do you feel having all twenty of your novels simultaneously topping the New York Times Bestseller List? What is your next project? Will you have my babies?
She doesn’t respond, her demeanor impassive.
Such eccentricity, they think but do not say. They swoon like teenage girls at a boy band’s concert. They knew this would happen and they admire her for it.
I am your biggest fan! someone screams. His face is drowned in tears.
The author sniffs daintily at that. They’re all her biggest fans. She interrupts their adulation with a raise of her hand. The silence is abrupt. The crowd stares, enthralled. What will she do?
She says but one word. It is the only word she will speak that night.
With a flick of her wrist, she beckons them forward. They flock to her, arms shaking under the weight of her books. There is not a paperback copy to be seen. Her publisher would not allow her words to be cheapened so.
Two lines form. One for her, the other for the bathroom. The weaker fans’ nerves are too shot to handle the pressure of meeting her face to face. The sweet scent of her perfume turns their insides. They know they are unworthy to be in the presence of this goddess who humbles herself to be before them. Such benevolence, they whisper to one another.
A fan tries to sneak in a picture. A bodyguard tackles her and escorts her away.
The author does not speak. She does not smile. She does not look up from her work. Using the fountain pen of a long-dead author, she graces her readers’ books with a signature as elegant and refined as her.
They leave, some in tears, some wordlessly starstruck. They will never forget this night. But, as the author boards her private jet to continue her tour in Europe, she has already forgotten them.
Book Signing Reality:
The author stumbles across the stage, projectile vomits on the front row, pees a little, and runs from the room screaming.